Hilo, Kamehameha, Damien rise on Pupule ballot

Damien quarterback Marcus Faufata-Pedrina and the Monarchs face their toughest challenge in the ILH this season when they play St. Francis on Friday. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

One of the funny things about voting in the Star-Advertiser Football Top 10 is that logic is almost impossible to obey.

For the most part, voters are swayed by provinciality. Some are influenced by the power of now, or recency bias. Others harken back to history and tradition when no sensible criteria remains. For me, the first five spots are the same as they were last week. After that, it’s a shuffling with a new team (Campbell) while another (Kapaa) falls out.

Pupule FB ballot 9/11/17
1. Saint Louis (3-0, 1-0 ILH)
2. Kahuku (4-1, 4-0 OIA)
3. Punahou (4-0, 1-0 ILH)
4. Mililani (5-0, 4-0 OIA)
5. Hilo (4-0, 3-0 BIIF)
6. Kamehameha (3-2, 0-2 ILH)
7. Damien (4-1, 2-0 ILH D-II)
8. Lahainaluna (4-1, 3-0 MIL)
9. Campbell (4-2, 4-1 OIA)
10. Farrington (3-3, 3-2 OIA)

To be sure, the bottom five with their strength of schedule, or lack thereof, doesn’t make things easy to decipher. In fact, I don’t blame any voters who loaded their bottom half with nothing but OIA D-I teams. Or none at all.

1. Saint Louis Crusaders (3-0, 1-0 ILH)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 1
How I voted last week: No. 1

Last week: Idle.
Wins: @ *Waianae (49-7), Baldwin (61-0). *Kamehameha (44-0).
Losses: None.
Next: vs. Punahou, Friday, Aloha Stadium.

The skinny: Having two, three weeks between games can be a drain on most teams, but the Crusaders and teams in the ILH are quite used to this. Sorta. Getting prepared for their main challenger in the ILH, under the watchful eyes of Cal Lee, Ron Lee and the veteran staff, it has to be one of the most unique crescendoes of all prep sports.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

2. Kahuku Red Raiders (4-1, 4-0 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 2
How I voted last week: No. 2

Last week: Lost to Bingham (Utah) (17-0).
Wins: Leilehua (24-0), @ *Waianae (37-0), Moanalua (40-6), @ Aiea (51-7).
Losses: Bingham (Utah) (17-0).
Next: Bye (forfeit win over Kaiser.

The skinny: Another year, another loss in Las Vegas. Things seemed so promising this time, but the injury to QB Sol-Jay Maiava proved to be a major downfall for the Kahuku offense. And yet, it was just one game, an exhibition game that loyal Red Raider fans enjoyed. The spectacle of a sea of red in Sam Boyd Stadium, unmatched?

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

3. Punahou Buffanblu (4-0, 1-0 ILH)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 4
How I voted last week: No. 3

Wins: Moanalua (35-7), *Torrey Pines (23-7), *Junipero Serra (Calif.) (56-42) (at Cathedral Catholic Stadium), *Kamehameha (21-0).
Losses: None.
Last week: def. Kamehameha (21-0).
Next: vs. *St. Louis. Friday, Aloha Stadium.

The skinny: Punahou enters this game having no rest time after the win over Kamehameha. Saint Louis will have had two weeks to heal up and rest. The Buffanblu have thrived on the playmaking verve of QB Stephen Barber, but his penchant for danger may not be good for long-term success of the team. The risk and reward, that will be something to monitor as the Buffanblu enter this latter half of the season.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

4. Mililani Trojans (5-0, 4-0 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 3
How I voted last week: No. 4

Last week: def. Farrington.
Wins: Kaiser (2-0, forfeit), Leilehua (47-0), Castle (49-0), @ *Clayton Valley Charter (Calif.) (49-30), *Farrington (42-6).
Losses: None.
Next: @ *Kapolei, Friday.

The skinny: The most significant difference between the resumes of Punahou and Mililani is that Punahou’s had a tougher slate. Doesn’t mean the Buffanblu, or any other team, for that matter, is necessarily better. Still, this matchup is a big one for both teams. Kapolei has seemingly righted the ship with a 33-0 win over Kailua. The Trojans? They just beat a Farrington team that beat Kapolei.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

5. Hilo Vikings (4-0, 3-0 BIIF)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 6
How I voted last week: No. 5

Last week: won @ Waiakea.
Wins: @ ‘Iolani (62-35), @ Hawaii Prep (73-6), Honokaa (41-0), Waiakea (54-0).
Losses: None.
Next: @ Konawaena, Friday.

The skinny: RB Kahale Huddleston continues to tear up defenses, thriving behind his talented, mobile rhinos up front. Through four games: 41 rushing attempts, 547 yards, 12 TDs; three receptions, 52 yards, two TDs; six kickoff returns, 452 yards, four TDs. He has entered the territory of famed BIIF rushers like Billy Stevens, Keone Au, Matt “Missile” Kaili, Roman “Rocket” Hao and more.

Normally, the way it works is like this, from what I’ve observed over the last couple of decades or so: a team with strong strength of schedule has a high ceiling and a high floor, even after defeat(s). A team with a lesser SOS has much lower ceiling, and if there’s a loss to an unranked team, that floor might as well be the bottom of a cliff. Hilo isn’t playing for rankings, of course, but the prospect of facing unranked teams through the rest of the BIIF schedule means they will continue to be the giant with a bull’s eye target on his back. They will get everyone’s best game, even if the scores so far don’t seem to show it.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

6. Kamehameha Warriors (3-2, 0-2 ILH)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 5
How I voted last week: No. 7

Last week: lost to *Punahou.
Wins: @ *Farrington (34-15), @ *Lahainaluna (34-10), Carson (33-10).
Losses: *Saint Louis (44-0), *Punahou (21-0).
Next: Idle this week. vs. Punahou, Sept. 22.

The skinny: It’s a strange, yet intriguing season when a No. 7 team (on my ballot) can lose by three TDs, yet move up a notch. Playing in a three-team division makes things simple. Not easy, but very clear. The Warriors are still in position to do something amazingly huge in 2017. Chances are, though, that the program will continue to develop one step at a time.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

7. Damien Monarchs (4-1, 2-0 ILH D-II)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Not ranked
How I voted last week: No. 10

Last week: def. Pac-FIve.
Wins: @ Castle (42-7), @ Kealakehe (20-7), ‘Iolani (35-21), Pac-Five (39-18).
Losses: Villa Park (14-6).
Next: vs. St. Francis, Friday, Aloha Stadium.

The skinny: Like Hilo, Damien doesn’t have a win over a ranked team yet, but the success thus far has been real. Scores and margins matter, but it’s the way they win — great defense, ball-control offense, good decision-making, timely first downs — that separates the Monarchs from a lot of good teams.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

8. Lahainaluna Lunas (4-1, 3-0 MIL)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 9
How I voted last week: No. 9

Last week: Idle.
Wins: @ Pearl City (20-7), King Kekaulike (45-0), @ Maui (32-13), Baldwin (28-20).
Losses: *Kamehameha (34-10).
Next: @ Kamehameha-Maui, Friday.

The skinny: An extra week for the Lunas to go through their regimented practices, become more disciplined, more cohesive, more precise. It is almost unfair. Like Hilo and Damien, the Lunas haven’t beaten a ranked team yet, which makes for a glass ceiling of sorts along with a deep drop-off in the event of an upset loss. I’d have no problem ranking LLHS as high as No. 6 or even No. 5, but that lopsided loss to Kamehameha still matters.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

9. Campbell Sabers (4-2, 4-1 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 10
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Last week: def. Moanalua.
Wins: *Farrington (26-20), Aiea (48-13), Kaiser (71-0), Moanalua (51-6).
Losses: *Kapolei 23-7, @ *Waianae (27-14).
Next: vs. Moanalua, Saturday, 6:30 p.m.

The skinny: Here’s a refresher on the Twisted Web in the OIA.

>> Twisted web v2.0
Waianae beat Campbell
Campbell beat Farrington
Farrington beat Kapolei
Kapolei beat Waianae
Leilehua beat Kapolei

Of the teams listed, it might be Campbell that has the best balance between the ground and air attack, special teams and defense. Then again, I’m 100 percent sure the web will get twistier soon enough. The OIA is unpredictable.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

10. Farrington Governors (3-3, 3-2 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: No. 8
How I voted last week: No. 10

Last week: lost to Mililani.
Wins: @ Nanakuli (35-0), *Kapolei (28-7), @ *Kailua (3-0).
Losses: *Kamehameha (34-15), @ *Campbell (26-20), *Mililani (42-6).
Next: Bye this week. vs. Castle, Sept. 23.

The skinny: Kapolei could be here at the 10 spot. So could Waianae. Maybe Leilehua. Kauai? This is still a maze and voters are still waiting to see who rises out of this OIA tangle.

Honorable mention
Waianae Seariders (3-3, 3-2 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Not ranked
How I voted last week: Not ranked

Last week: won @ Radford.
Wins: *Campbell (27-14), Moanalua (43-20), @ Radford (47-15).
Losses: *Saint Louis (49-7), *Kapolei (7-0), *Kahuku (37-0).
Next: Bye this week. vs. Aiea, Sept. 22.

The skinny: The Seariders started 0-3 with a tough schedule, then won the next three. The bye comes at an opportune time for rest. After Aiea, it’s Kaiser, which is already forfeiting its next two games.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Kapolei Hurricanes (3-3, 2-3 OIA)
Star-Advertiser Top 10: Not ranked.
How I voted last week: Not ranked.

Last week: won @ Kailua.
Wins: @ *Campbell (23-7), @ *Waianae (7-0), @ *Kailua (33-0).
Losses: Castle (2-0, forfeit), @ *Farrington (28-7), Leilehua (20-19, OT).
Next: vs. *Mililani, Friday.

The skinny: The OIA playoff format is a blessing for all those teams that endured adversity and calamity early in the season. I always refer to it as a borderline lottery system that rewards any team that qualifies, which is basically most of the teams in D-I. It is a flawed system, in the eyes of purists, but it is here to stay. What coach/principal/AD in his or her right mind would vote against a format that almost guarantees a playoff berth for every team? It keeps hope alive across the league. Kapolei, even with its struggles through midseason, could have a losing record in league play and still play its best football in the playoffs. You never know.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

There is another orbiting layer of possibility teams. Unbeaten Kapaa had my vote, but again, low ceiling and low floor made the loss to Kauai last weekend a rough one. St. Francis has looked good, but on the resume is a 13-9 loss at Leilehua. The same Leilehua that has also beaten Kapolei, but also lost to Kahuku and Mililani. No demerits for losing to ranked teams, especially those in the top four. Kauai knocked off Kapaa over the weekend, but has a 42-0 loss to St. Francis on its ledger. Kailua still formidable, but losses to Farrington and Kapolei are still ringing.

If Leilehua continues to roll, it could be 3-2 after this week, going into a key home game against Kailua. And as the Mules roll, and if St. Francis gets past Damien, it might not be very long before Leilehua and the Saints wind up in the Top 10. What a wacky season it has been already.


  1. PlayaHatersAnonymous September 13, 2017 9:26 am

    #7 should be Lahainaluna HS, then #8 Damien, then #9 Saint Francis, then #10 Campbell. Campbell scrimmaged Saint Francis and lucky for the Sabers it wasn’t a preseason game, or they’d have started with a loss on their record.

  2. 76ersSouth September 13, 2017 1:09 pm

    @ Playa
    We sitting in here, we supposed to enjoy this season, and we in here talking about scrimmages. I mean listen: We talking about scrimmages. Not a game. Not a game. Not a game. We talking about scrimmages. Not a game. Not the game that student athletes go out there and die for and play every game like it’s their last. Not the game. We talking about scrimmages, man.

  3. Awrite!! September 13, 2017 1:49 pm

    So it looks like Hilo, Damien and Lahainaluna is ready to declare for the open div this year? Its pretty clear that the media and entire state believe they could play with the big dogs so their absence from the open div could only mean that they themselves are avoiding it a.k.a. chicken!!??

    The voters are not doing anyone any good by dropping the tougher OAHU teams who lose to other tough teams and elevating outerisland teams and D2 teams (Damien) who have not proven themselves on the field and only play a pancake schedules.

  4. Awrite!! September 13, 2017 1:52 pm

    If you look at common opponents.
    Kam beat Lahainaluna 34-10
    Kam beat Farr 34-15

    It looks like Farr gave Kam a harder game, but Lahaina with their easier schedule is ranked ahead of Farr who lost to Cambell and Mililani. I would love to see how well Lanaina does against Camb & Mill

  5. Awrite!! September 13, 2017 2:03 pm

    Here is another food for thought, since D2 teams are included in the SA top 10 ballot, hows about they create two polls and include the lower D1 teams in the D2 ballot.

    D1 poll::::::::
    1. Saint Louis
    2. Kahuku
    3. Punahou
    4. Mililani
    5. Hilo
    6. Kamehameha
    7. Damien
    8. Lahainaluna
    9. Campbell

    D2 poll::::::::
    1. Kapolei
    2. Waianae
    3. St. Francis
    4. Kapaa
    5. Moanalua
    6. Leilehua
    7. Konawaena
    8. Baldwin
    9. Kailua

  6. andrew muragin September 13, 2017 2:34 pm

    I was at the same campbell st francis scrimmage, im not sure what you saw, campbell played mostly backups. if it was a real game campbell would have handled them.

  7. The Rim September 13, 2017 2:44 pm

    @Awrite-Your pea brain is at it again, calling these teams names when they have NOTHING to do with the rankings. Misdirected anger shows your limited education and the ability to process right from wrong. My guess is you have CTE or maybe just anger issues that control your thought process. Seek help immediately or you’ll live a life filled with anger and stupidity.

  8. Awrite!! September 13, 2017 7:31 pm

    Blame SA for not having two polls and subjecting these lower tier teams to criticism. Just like Dana White exposing his fighter Mcgregor into a match he had no business being in.

    If you open your eyes and read through your pea brains you would see that I blame the people at the top not the bottom.

  9. The Rim September 13, 2017 8:01 pm

    Go get help, your stupidity and lack of awareness of what you wrote clearly suggests you lack brain cells. Let me refresh your remaining brain cells, you called them chicken? Grow up!

  10. Jack MeHoff September 14, 2017 6:16 am

    @Awrite!! I see that you still agrivated about some D2 teams making it in the top 10 (since week 1) Your ignorance is really entertaining! Obviously you know nothing about D2 or outer island teams. Kapaa and Baldwin is not D2 and Lahainaluna is not D1. Saint Francis and Damien is not D1, they are D2 teams that opted to play in the D1 playoffs. Is that fair?..for any team or division? I DONT THINK SO! But hey, that’s what the HHSAA had in the bag of tricks. I would really like to see one of those D2 teams beat one of your “TOUGHER D1 OAHU TEAMS” in the Championship Game.
    If your team didn’t make it or ranks lower than these D2 teams, man..sucks to be you lol. Maybe you didn’t notice but, nobody else seems to be complaining except you..your team prolly just junk. Take a few shots, smoke a fatty along with your A.D.D pill and relax! don’t want you to do something crazy..or break your computer every week you see the rankings and your team still not there. Who’s your team anyway?..maybe SA, Scoringlive and Hawaiiprepworld can bump’em up a spot just for you..make you feel just that much better?..WHAT-A-YA SAY?!?!..give it a shot!! Nuttin to lose!..who’s your team buddy?

  11. phILHarmonic September 15, 2017 2:46 pm

    You forgot Waipahu Jackrabbits and Kapahulu Raiders.

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